Tablet computer sales are set to stall this year, prompting International Data Corporation (IDC) to almost halve its forecast for worldwide growth this year. After previously predicting that the number of tablets shipped will rise by 12.1 per cent in 2014, IDC has now slashed its growth estimate to 6.5 per cent, or 233.1 million units, above all due to flat sales in North America and Western Europe.

However, shipments outside of North America and Western Europe will rise by 12 per cent in 2014, according to IDC, following an 88 per cent jump in 2013.

Future tablet growth will be fuelled by devices with screen sizes smaller than eight inches in developing markets, where average prices are expected to fall by around 10 per cent, to $302. As an illustration of evolving tablet usage, shipments of tablets featuring a built-in option of voice calling over cellular networks in the Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) region reached 25 per cent this quarter, representing annual growth of 60 per cent.

In mature markets the average selling price is set to stabilise at $373, said IDC.

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